Short-form video app TikTok has 41 days to complete a deal with Microsoft or any other U.S. company or else President Donald Trump has said that he will ban the app in the U.S. That’s because TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is based in China and a law in the country allows the communist government to order tech firms to collect intelligence from consumers and companies in the states and send it to Beijing. This is the same reason why outfits like Huawei and ZTE are considered national security threats in the states.
NPR reported that twenty separate lawsuits accusing TikTok of capturing information about users’ facial characteristics, locations, and close contacts were merged into one class-action suit. The plaintiffs are minors who use the app and the suit states that the personal data collected by TikTok is sent to servers in China. ByteDance says that the servers it uses for TikTok are located in the U.S. with backups in Singapore. Experts for the plaintiffs said in the filing that personal data collected by TikTok is “under the control of third-parties who cooperate with the Chinese government. Such information reveals TikTok users’ precise physical location, including possibly indoor locations within buildings, and TikTok users’ apps that possibly reveal mental or physical health, religious views, political views, and sexual orientation.”
Instagram unveils Reels
With talk of a possible ban, many of the 100 million TikTok users in the U.S. have been looking for a new app to record their lip-syncing, dancing, singing, comedy bits, and protests. One app called Clash launched months early so that it could sign up TikTok members worried about losing the app to a ban.
Today, Instagram announced the launch of its short-form video feature called Reels. Instagram says, “Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools. You can share reels with your followers on Feed, and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore. Reels in Explore offers anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a global stage.”
To use Reels, open Instagram and touch the camera icon in the upper left of the screen. On the bottom of the page, tap the Reels tab to get started. On the left side of the screen, you’ll see icons for Audio, Speed, Effects, and Timer. With the Audio setting, you can search for a song from Instagram’s music library or use your own by creating a reel with original music. If you share an original song on Reels, you will get credit for it. And your musical creation can be used by others by selecting “Use Audio” from your Reel.
With AR Effects you can pick one from Instagram’s effect gallery which also includes effects made by creators all over the planet. This will allow you to create multiple-clips with different effects. If you are recording a Reel, you can record it hands-free by tapping on Timer and Countdown. A 3-2-1 countdown will alert you when your device has started recording.
Perhaps one of the most important features on Reels is Align. This allows you to line up objects from your previous clips to help you record seamless transitions for outfit changes and more. And Speed lets you speed up audio and video. Reels can be recorded one at a time or all at once. Instagram says, “Record the first clip by pressing and holding the capture button. You’ll see a progress indicator at the top of the screen as you record. Stop recording to end each clip.”
If you have a public account, your Reel can be shared in Explore or over your feed. If you use a private account, only your followers will be able to view your content from your feed. Original audio can’t be shared with this setting and others cannot share your Reels with others who don’t follow you. And a Reel can also be shared like a Story which means that it will disappear after 24 hours.
“Reels in Explore showcases the best of trending culture on Instagram. Discover an entertaining selection of reels made by anyone on Instagram, in a vertical feed customized for you. If you love a Reel, you can easily like, comment or share it with your friends. You’ll also see some Reels with a “Featured” label. If your Reel is featured in Explore, you’ll receive a notification. Featured Reels are a selection of public Reels chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content we hope will entertain and inspire you.
Reels gives people new ways to express themselves, discover more of what they love on Instagram, and help anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator take center stage.”